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Full text of "A history of Persia"

122

HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
which he annexed, together with Kashgar, Yarkand, and
Khotan, and so founded a Buddhist kingdom in the
Tarim basin. He subsequently invaded Khwarazm, as
related in the previous section, and imposed an annual
tribute of thirty thousand pieces of gold. Two years
later, having by that time extended his Empire to the
confines of Siberia, Yelui Tashi assumed the high title of
Gur Khan, or "Universal Lord/' This great conqueror
died in A.D. 1136, as he was preparing to attack the
usurping Nuchens. His immediate successors ^were
minors, and their regents were their female relations ;
but the tribe for some generations to come maintained its
warlike ascendancy over the kingdoms of Central Asia.
The Defeat of Sultan Sanjar by the Kara Khitai^ A.H, 536
(114.1}.—Atsiz was a man of resource, and, not content
with recovering his kingdom after his expulsion by Sanjar,
was able to avenge himself by encouraging the Kara Khitai
to invade the territories of his overlord. A great battle was
fought in the valley of Dirgham beyond the Oxus, and
Sanjar encountered the first defeat in his hitherto successful
career. In this disaster, which was held to be the most
crushing ever experienced by Moslems in Central Asia,
the Seljuk losses were one hundred thousand men- Its
result was that the Kara Khitai temporarily occupied
Merv and Nishapur, and Atsiz returned to Khiva as an
independent sovereign. Two years later Sanjar had re-
covered sufficient strength to invade Khiva ; but, meeting
with little success, he made peace. Atsiz, who died about
a year before his great enemy, left to his son a kingdom
which stretched as far east as the province of Jand on the
Jaxartes. Sanjar's last success was the defeat and capture
of the famous " World Burner " of Ghor, who had invaded
Khorasan.
The Capture of Sultan Sanjar by the GAuzz9 A.H. 548
(i 153).—As we have already had occasion to remark, one
of the most potent causes of the overthrow of powerful
dynasties has been found in the movements of nomadic
tribes which, in their flight from a strong foe, have fought
desperately to secure new grazing grounds in a strange
country. The Kara Khitai, when they won their empire,